Domaine des Trouilleres "Montagne de Strass" Cotes d'Auvergne Rouge 2020
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The Auvergne, right smack in the middle of France, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site that covers a string of dormant volcanoes, the Puy de Dôme being the most famous. According to volcanoligist Patrick Marcel, ‘three million years ago, molten magma flowed through a valley and then solidified. Over time, the surrounding clay-limestone peaks eroded away, leaving the tougher basaltic remnants of that flow to become the highest features in local terrain.’
Wine is very well suited to this region and it used to be one of France’s biggest, supplying most of Paris’ bistro wine from the 1860s to the 1890s. Around the turn of the century, it was devastated by the infestation of phylloxera, an insect that feeds on grape vines. The Auvergne never recovered after World War I and the growth of alternate industries that took locals away from winemaking traditions.Though there’s not a lot of wine being made there today, it’s one of my new favorite regions because of the elegance and understated nature of the wines I’ve hade from producers like Trouillières, where Camille and Mikael Hyvert work six hectares organically. They only began in 2015 but everything I’ve had from them so far has been lovely: but the ‘Montagne de Strass’ may be my favorite. One thing I like about volcanic soils is the ability to impart savory complexity, dialing down the fruity components without adding too much heft. This Pinot Noir and Gamay blend is a great example of that, and though the difference between this and a similar blend from the Loire is subtle, it makes all the difference. It hits some of the same notes as Oregon Pinot Noir. They lean away from big fruit into the more textural side of things, without sacrificing anything in terms of clarity or thirst-quenching quaffability. Silky cherry, red plum, and a blend of herbaceous flavors like basil, thyme, and pine creates a tension that is invigorating and deliciously finessed. Definitely a great one with a chill, but not too cold or you might miss the delicate details that make this so delectable. Jonathan Kemp
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